How to Stop Theft in Your Restaurant – A Miniseries – Part 2

 In 1. David Scott Peters, bar, Employees, Food Costs, Leadership, Operations

As we discussed in the first post in this series, people steal. And their theft is a reality of doing business.

I promised in that post to tell you how we were going to stop theft in your restaurant.

The trick, if you remember, is not in catching the thieves, but keeping honest people honest – keep people from taking the low hanging fruit in your restaurant.

The way to keep people honest is to use systems. You have to put systems in place that are designed to track key numbers, and product and management on the floor using those systems. It’s really that simple.

Let’s look at some of the ways employees steal in a restaurant and what you can do to keep the honest people honest.

Stealing cash from the master bank

Managers have access to a great deal of cash. When the owners and managers don’t make it a priority that the master bank (also known as the change bank) is accurately balanced daily, a dishonest manager can start taking from this pool of money and no one would ever know.

The way to combat this is to have each manager on duty verify and re-verify that the master bank is balanced. They do this by counting it when they start their shift, running a tape, placing the time, date and their initials on it, and then placing it in the drawer, box or bag where the money is kept. At the end of their shift they do the same thing and the next manager does it after. This simple check, double-check system makes it impossible to steal without being immediately caught.

Stealing cash from the daily cash deposit

Again, we have to trust our management team to do their job and a part of that job is to count and deposit the cash collected on a daily basis. When the owners and managers don’t require that the closing manager balance nightly, it’s easy to steal. When done properly, your cash deposit will NEVER be exactly what the point-of-sale system says. If the deposit matches on a nightly basis, odds are someone is stealing.

Writing unauthorized checks

Stop with the signed blank checks in the safe! Stop allowing managers to forge your name! Stop making it acceptable for your management team to have 100 percent access to your accounts. Don’t get me wrong, they must be able to write checks. But they don’t need free access to everything you’ve got. Simply start a sweep account with your bank for $2,000 to $3,000. Let the managers write checks from this account. Then every night the bank clears checks and moves money from your main account to the sweep account making it start with the same balance daily. This allows you to give your management team the tools to do their job and not tempt anyone to dip deep into your accounts for personal gain.

Believe it or not, I have MORE ways that restaurant employees steal. I’ll include them in another post.

In the meantime, look over your restaurant systems and restaurant employees. Can you see any of these scenarios taking place in your restaurant? Tell us in the comments below which ones and what you have done or will now do about it!

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